The Man Booker prize shortlisted novel Pigeon English will be adapted for the stage as part of The National Youth Theatre’s autumn rep season in the West End.

The NYT’s reparatory season will run at Ambassdor’s Theatre for nine weeks between September and November, and Pigeon English will be one of three plays that will be staged.

Other productions will be a take on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and DNA by Dennis Kelly.

The NYT REP production of Romeo and Juliet will be set in 1950s post-war London, where teddy girls mix with teddy boys and immigration booms.

Brutality, prejudice and a ruthless gang culture are themes running throughout this modern adaptation, which will be directed by Kate Hewitt, the associate director of Charlie and The Chocolate Factory the Musical.

DNA, meanwhile, follows a group of teenagers after a practical joke goes tragically wrong, pushing them towards the edges of society. The piece explores violence, guilt and solidarity. 

The West End premiere of Pigeon English will be based on Stephen Kelman’s 2011 Man Booker prize shortlisted novel. It’s been adapted for stage by award-winning playwright Gbolahan Obisesan (Off the Page, How Nigeria Became).

The story is inspired by real-life tragic killing of Damilola Taylor, and the production looks at the sometimes harsh reality of adulthood in modern day Britain.

Performance times

Romeo and Juliet will have performances on dates including but not limited to 23rd, 27th, and 30th September; 4th, 7th and 28th October; and 1st, 4th and 23rd November.

Pigeon English’s matinees will take place on dates such as 26th and 28th September; 18th and 21st October; and 22nd November.

Meanwhile, GTOs can book to see DNA on dates including 11th, 14th, 21st and 25th November.

More about NYT rep

The NYT rep is an initiative that allows young talent to work for nine months with leading theatre institutions, culminating in three months of performances in the West End. It was set up by artistic director Paul Roseby in 2012 to provide a free alternative to expensive formal training.

Over 30,000 audience members, including over 300 school groups from around the UK, have attended since 2013.

Rep company alumni include Sope Dirisu who is currently starring in BBC1’s Undercover, Kate Kennedy who will appear as Helena in the BBC’s Midsummer Night’s Dream later this year, and Zainab Hasan who is currently appearing in Boy at the Almeida Theatre.

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